Hunger Site

The Hunger Site

Monday, January 18, 2016

My Love Affair with Smashed Pennies

I  collect 'em.  Like by the dozens.  Hundreds even.  Collecting Disney alone will get you into the hundreds, easily.  I started out in elementary school with San Diego Zoo and Harbor Excursion designs. Old Town, Coronado, Sea World, the Wild Animal Park, and Disneyland were soon to follow.

It's such a fun hobby for me.  There's the thrill of the hunt,  because even when you've got a location list, the machines are notorious for moving around.  Then there's the pleasant surprises of machines that weren't on your list popping up unexpectedly.  Some are in really weird places.  Like Parkway Plaza. (That didn't last long).  Or a recycling center.  The majority of them are in tourist destinations, often within gift shops or directly outside their doors, near a power source. Machines come and go, and designs are rotated and revamped and retired.

Brother going to Hawaii or Dad going to Colorado?  Better check my PennyCollector app and see if they'll be near any machines.  Just in case!  Mom's going to Israel and it looks like she just might be able to get me one or two there!

I have several international coins: Canada, Japan, England, Ireland, Grand Cayman, and it's possible I've left something off the list.

Looking for a Harry Potter penny? Got it. Jesus take the wheel? Yup. Pikachu?  Uh huh.  Pig farms, covered bridges, skunk trains, casinos, birth announcements, national monuments, inspirational quotes, historical figures, The Elongated Collectors Club circa 2002, sports stars, Burma Shave, lucky pennies.... I have a wide assortment to say the least.  I have one that simply says, "Jeff."

Back in the day, I belonged to the official collectors' club as well as a discussion group and traded coins online and on the honor system through snail mail.  And several times I also received a huge box full of coins to rummage through and take what I wanted and add in my duplicates and undesirables in return.  (Hence how I now have a very cool and very random Jeff coin).  I also bought some of my coins directly from rollers who own machines themselves (Burma Shave, WWJD, Ken Griffey, Jr, etc).

While smashed pennies are relatively inexpensive and take up little room in small quantities, in large quantities, they can get pricier and heavier, and you are left with the dilemma of how to display them.  For the longest time, my collection was kept in an applesauce jar.  I delighted in pouring the pennies out and sorting through them, organizing them first in one fashion and then in another.  And then one day I discovered mylars at a hobby shop with my Dad.  Then I kept my collection in a binder in mylars in plastic pages.  The binder was not all inclusive.  Disneyland and Sea World and San Francisco had their own collectible books. Also, not all of my collection was going to fit into a 1.5" D-ring binder.  So it became more of a status thing.  The most important coins were displayed, with initials designated their state of origin and also the initials of the person who gave me the coin, if applicable.

Ten years ago, I had the pleasure of collecting the gorgeous 50th anniversary Magical Milestones set and more recently, the 60th Diamond Anniversary set at Disneyland.  They are displayed in my Disneyland pressed penny books.  I have plans for my other, general Disneyland coins.  They are sorted out from my other ECs. (Elongated coins.)

The rest of my collection is housed in a beautiful bowl my dear friend Charlie gave me as a housewarming gift.  It is teal and glossy and perfect.  I can see my collection and hear it and touch it whenever I please.  And it does please me.  Some people have baseball cards or shoes or spoons or vinyl.  I have smashed pennies.

I've reined in my collecting urges quite a bit.  I don't need every design from every destination.  That gets out of control fast. But I do like a token to remember a trip by.  One or two (okay, four...) souvenirs of a fun day.  My favorites are turtles, giraffes, and unique designs.

They changed the content of a penny in 1982 to contain more zinc, so when it is smashed, a newer penny will leave an unsightly silver colored smear.  When smashing, always choose a pre-82 penny.  That's your tip for the day.

You know I'm #9

I enjoyed this Buzzfeed article of stock photo models with money.  They're patently ridiculous.

This week's notable Cash Dashes on Find&Save:
  • Target 3% back When You Spend (WYS) $100 Ends Tuesday
  • Dollar Tree $0.50 back WYS $4 Ends Wednesday
  • Sprouts 4% back WYS $100 Ends Wednesday
  • Michaels $0.50 back  WYS $5 Ends Wednesday
  • 99 Cents Only $0.25 back  WYS $1 Ends Thursday
  • Marshalls 3% back WYS $30 Ends Thursday
  • TJ Maxx 3% back WYS $35 Ends Thursday
  • Costco 2% back WYS $100 Ends Friday
YM8D is my code for Find&Save. Tell 'em I sent you, lol.

Exciting things:
  1. Meatballs and shredded chicken for the week.  (Probably not together.)
  2. Snow Leopards at the San Diego Zoo
  3. Hamitome coming out in time for my birthday
  4. Hamilton documentary on PBS in the Fall
  5. Celtic Thunder Legacy in about a month
  6. Three day weekends
  7. A weekend of gluten free goodness with Melinda Dennis around the corner!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Apples and Oranges

Comparing these apps is like, well, comparing apples and oranges.  I've had them for different lengths of time.  But these four are actually all apps that give you cash back on purchases you make.  So maybe it's apples to apples in that sense. From smallest reward to greatest...:

 Paribus is the easiest app to set up and forget about.  It scans your inbox for receipts from Amazon, Target, and other participating retailers, and if the price drops within a week of your purchase, it makes a claim on your behalf to get your money back!

Find&Save is cool.  I'm trying not to spend much money now after a big car repair bill, but I see the potential.  Some of the spending thresholds are too high.  Costco is at $150 right now.  But spending $7 at the Dollar Tree and getting $1 back is pretty sweet. I also understand the "cash dash" aspect of it now.  Each offer is limited by time and a maximum number of participants, so it can disappear on you. If you sign up, my code (for that top "Share with Friends. Get Cash" offer) is YM8D.  Thanks!

Ebates is another no-brainer.  I even shop with Ebates and use in store pick up sometimes. Please sign up with my link if you're going to join, as I'll get a referral bonus.

Ibotta is a great way to supplement your coupon usage. There are "any brand" rebates as well as some deep discounts for new products and savings on items you may be planning to purchase anyways.  Keep an eye out for bonus combinations, as well to increase your rewards.  Right now they are offering a $10 sign up bonus after you complete your first rebate. Lucky you! I think I only got $4 or $5.  Happy 2016!  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Save the World

I added a header bar to my humble blog.  I like to click on the Hunger Site to do my small part to give.  It's free to do.  Hopefully when you visit my little corner of the web, that'll remind you to do your part to end hunger.  There's actually quite a few different causes on the site now, and each click (one per person per day) contributes to that cause, whether it's funding therapy for someone with autism, or a mammogram, feeding an animal, or funding Alzheimer's research.  All worthy causes, and I think it's something little that many people can do to make a difference with very little effort on their parts.  The site  also has merch for sale to further support their causes.  I used to always have a link to the Hunger Site or similar sites as my away message on AIM with the little subtitle "Save the World!"  Because, hey, somebody has to.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Lads

No cruise this year... Here we are with Keith Harkin, Colm Keegan, Emmett O'Hanlon, Neil Byrne, Ryan Kelly, and Emmet Cahill. Celtic Thunder Cruise November 2014  Good craic!

"The Knowledge," & Drinking Tap Water, But Not the Kool Aid

What have we learned today?
Today I learned that in London, taxi drivers have to take a test simply known as "The Knowledge."  It's of all their zany streets that were laid out from carriage routes and such and with one side of the street having a different name than the other.  The drivers are also expected to know all the pubs and sights so they can take the residents and tourists where they want to go.  And as a result, seasoned drivers' brains have bigger hippocampuses.  I saw it in a National Geographic video in my science class in middle school today.  Here's an article describing what we saw.  Thanks, NatGeo!

I hate New Year's Resolutions.  Everyone knows that you start off with the best of intentions, but then, somewhere along the way, the goal gets knocked off the top of your priorities' list.  Also, I know that it's a new year and it makes sense for all and sundry to take part in a tradition of having a fresh start... but the little rebel in me balks at being just like everyone else. Why January first? Make up your mind and start when you're ready, gosh darn it.  Enough about the arbitrary nature of humankind.... Being that it's January 4th and all, I've decided to maybe drink tap water instead of bottled or filtered this year.  I hate lugging heavy bottles up the stairs, am not thrilled about the environmental impact, and know that the taste difference between bottled and tap is mostly in my head.  Totally reserving my right to change my mind here though. Ha!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

This Year in Lazy Central...

My vote for the best "invention" of 2015?  Commercial free Hulu.  It's allowed this girl many an hour of interruption-free couch-potatoing.